The spectacle of Russian futurism : the emergence and development of Russian futurist performance, 1910-1914
In this thesis Russian Futurist performance is considered in the wider context of the emergence and development of the initial phase of the Russian Futurist movement, 1910-14. Futurism emerged at a time of increasing commodification and diversification within the arts. New commercial enterprises, private art galleries, publishing companies and the arrival of cinema, combined with a growing urban population and expanding middle class who sought new forms of leisure activities, I provided fertile ground for new artistic ventures. As such, Futurism constituted a part of the newly forming art and entertainment market. Crucial to Futurism's survival in this competitive market was its need to secure a guaranteed source of funding. In many ways, then, the early phase of Russian Futurism, 1910-14, can be interpreted as a struggle to use all means and all artistic creativity possible to secure that funding. Part I describes the competitive artistic situation, socio-economic context and cultural networks of the 1910s. It identifies the key figures who helped to shape Futurism's development, from patrons and impresarios to artists and critics, and analyses the various marketing strategies which they employed to engage an audience. Part II examines the interaction between Futurist and audience. It focuses on the sites of Futurist performance, the public's perception of and associations with these sites, and questions of affordability and accessibility. The final two chapters deal specifically with the critical reception of Futurism: the public's attitude to the Futurists; the critics' interpretation of the Futurists and the public; and the Futurists' attitude to different sections of the public. The final section explores the possibility of a socio-political subtext in Futurist art of this period and draws conclusions concerning the provocative nature of Futurist performance and its function as a medium to express the Futurist aesthetic, that is, to effect change in all aspects of daily life.